Coenzyme Q10 is a type of enzyme which is more frequently referred to as a vitamin – a vitamin that’s created in some of the most vital organs in the human body to produce energy.
What is Coenzyme Q10 good for? what does it do?
Good question… Coenzyme Q10 is important in the processes within the mitochondria to help stimulate the release of adenosine triphosphate ATP.
“It is a component of the electron transport chain and participates in aerobic cellular respiration, which generates energy in the form of ATP.” (01)
Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble substance (best utilized with fat sources). Incredibly, 95% of the human body’s energy is generated using Coenzyme Q10.
Inside the body, and in supplement form, you may find Coenzyme Q10 referred to as either ubiquinone or ubiquinol. These are two variations of what makes up Coenzyme Q10.
The organs within the body that require the most energy on a continuous basis are; the heart, liver, and kidney.
These organs contain the highest levels of Coenzyme Q10.
What Is Coenzyme Q10 Made of?
Inside the body, you can find Coenzyme Q10 in its oxidized form which is called ubiquinone, or in its reduced form which is known as ubiquinol.
When the oxidized form of CoQ10 (ubiquinone) is used in the body, it then transfers to ubiquinol.
Then, when ‘ubiquinone’ begins its role in the body, it then becomes ubiquinone. In summary, the two work together, where one becomes the other to form CoQ10.
While ubiquinone and ubiquinol are the scientific names for this vitamin-like structure, most of us refer to them as Coenzyme Q10.
How Is Coenzyme Q10 Made?
“CoQ10 is produced primarily in the liver and then converted to ubiquinol in the body through an enzymatic process known as the “redox cycle,” which is short for reduction-oxidation. CoQ10 must be “reduced” into ubiquinol before it can be used in the body.” (02)
What does all of this mean?
This basically means that Coenzyme Q10 is made naturally, especially in organs with the mitochondria, where it’s converted into ubiquinol.
Ubiquinol is just another name for Coenzyme Q10 in a slightly different form, but ultimately, it is classed as CoQ10.
The ‘redox cycle’ as mentioned above takes ubiquinol and then creates CoQ10.
This is our body’s preferred source of ‘energy assistance’ in the mitochondria.
Before Coenzyme Q10 can be made, it has to go through a three-stage process. This goes as follows:
- Creation of the benzoquinone structure (using phenylalanine or tyrosine)
- Creation of the isoprene side chain (using acetyl-CoA)
- The joining or condensation of the above two structures
Step one and two take place in the mitochondria…
Then, once the two have been created in the mitochondria cell, the two then bond in a condensation reaction.
What Does Coenzyme Q10 Do?
You can think of Coenzyme Q10 as an aid to help the mitochondria produce more energy.
It is known as;
“The primary biochemical action of CoQ10 is as a cofactor in the electron transport chain, in the series of redox reactions that are involved in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate”. (03)
Most cellular functions in the body are dependant on a healthy supply of adenosine triphosphate.
Therefore, that makes CoQ10 and essential part in the running of all human tissues and organs.
Not only that, Coenzyme Q10 is one of the most significant lipid antioxidants (water-soluble chain-breaking antioxidants).
This means that Coenzyme Q10 can break down and remove free radicals that might affect our DNA or overall health.
In short, Coenzyme Q10 can help to protect the body against illnesses that may be age-related, hereditary, or put upon the body by physical exercise – such a oxidative stress.
Many people with disease conditions have shown to have a lack of coenzyme Q10, hypothesizing that coenzyme Q10 plays a crucial role in the health and maintenance of our long-term health and vitality.
As mentioned above, a lack of coenzyme Q10 is linked to the degeneration of our health.
What’s more interesting, is that CoQ10 or lack thereof is known to heighten the negative effects of the respiratory chain.
This is due to the insufficient production of highly energetic compounds such as ATP, which ultimately decrease the efficiency of the cells within our body.
Coenzyme Q10 Benefits
This list goes on to the health benefits surrounding CoQ10, and more research needs to be done to prove these many health claims.
Therefore, we’ve included only the most relevant and proven benefits to CoQ10 that we see as vital for performance and longevity.
Coenzyme Q10 aids in the production of ATP. It does this by being used as a transporter of elements that make up energy within the body.
What good is this for us apart from creating more efficient levels of ATP?
Increased energy and exercise performance:
Oxidative stress is a huge negative effect that is felt after exercise.
Muscle function becomes weaker, the immune system drops, and fatigue can set in if not mitigated.
Therefore, supplementing with Coenzyme Q10 can help to prevent the damages done by oxidative stress. Such as those put on the body during stress – both physical and also mental.
To summarise this point: Coenzyme Q10 can help exercise performance by limiting oxidative stress throughout the body, while also improving the functioning of the mitochondria.
Supplementing with CoQ10 has been shown to help reduce inflammation, that’s been linked to heavy exercise. CoQ10 may even speed up recovery after intense workouts. (04)
In a 6-week study in 100 German athletes, it was found in those who supplemented with 300 mg of CoQ10 daily saw significant improvements in their physical performance. (05)
CoQ10 has also been shown to reduce levels of fatigue, while at the same time, increase muscle power output in non-athletes. This is great news for those interested in increasing energy while not wanting to exercise. (06)
What Are The Doses?
As we now know, CoQ10 to be heavily involved in the production of energy. Therefore, it only makes sense that athletes and those interested in increasing their energy levels may consider using CoQ10.
This is all well and good, but what’s the correct dosage for these benefits?
Doses have been tested in the range of 300 mg with great success f0r performance and increase energy production. (07)
Common Food Groups Containing Coenzyme Q10
Apart from supplementing with Coenzyme Q10, you can find it in a number of food groups.
However, as cooking denature the available amount of Coenzyme Q10 within foods, you may wish to use supplements.
For those wanting to eat healthy supplies of this wonderous vitamin called Coenzyme Q10, you can find it in the following food groups:
- Organ meats: Heart, liver, and kidney.
- Muscle meat: Pork, beef, and chicken.
- Fatty fish: Trout, herring, mackerel, and sardine.
- Vegetables: Spinach, cauliflower, and broccoli.
- Fruit: Oranges and strawberries.
- Legumes: Soybeans, lentils, and peanuts.
- Nuts and seeds: Sesame seeds and pistachios.
Are There Any Side Effects?
The usage of Coenzyme Q10 has not reported any side effects that may cause serious harm. The only side effects listed have been associated with headaches, upset stomach, nausea, and low blood pressure etc.
This may be due to taking too much at once, or on an empty stomach. It also may affect some more than others – similar to responders and non-responders similar to those who use creatine.
As these side effects are minor and easily mitigated, CoQ10 seems to be a viable option for most people without the worry of any dangerous effects.
There you have it, a complete breakdown of Coenzyme Q10 and its benefits for those seeking to increase energy and performance.
The benefits listed throughout this article have been widely studied and tested in the real world, with real athletes – making Coenzyme Q10 a top contender for increased energy production.
Therefore, that puts Coenzyme Q10 on the top of our list as a supplement that can benefit those who are interested in increased exercise performance, or those who are looking to get the spring back into their step.
Stick with the recommended dosages of roughly 300 mg per day to avoid any side effects. It’s also recommended to supplement with Coenzyme Q10 for at least one month while monitoring your energy levels to note down any changes you see and feel.
(01,02) Wikipedia – Coenzyme Q10. (source)
(03) Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. (source)
(04) Effects of Coenzyme Q10 on Markers of Inflammation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. (source)
(05) Ubiquinol supplementation enhances peak power production in trained athletes: a double-blind, placebo controlled study. (source)
(06) The effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on performance during repeated bouts of supramaximal exercise in sedentary men. (source)
(07) Chapter 5Well-Known Antioxidants and Newcomers in Sport Nutrition. (source)